Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Unified Communication

There were a couple of communication related stories today. Hotmail got a reboot, and looks very clean. It is now called Outlook.com and I logged in for the first time in 7+years. Yahoo email and messenger had some outages today, welcome Marissa Mayer. Twitter reinstated Guy Adams Twitter account. What do these three stories have in common? They show us what is good, bad, and ugly in communications.

Hotmail is now Outlook.com

First Outlook.com. Hotmail may have been my 2nd or third email service and if I recall correctly I created it to log into Microsoft support sites… It was a mess. Typical email client where no thought was given to how the interface would be used by people. I remember how excited I was to get my early invite to Gmail and how clean the page looked. How…usable it was. Now, so is Hotmail umm, ah, Outlook.com. This is the good. Taking something less usable and making it better.

Yahoo Email and Messenger

The bad. Yahoo. One of my friends posted today he didn’t know which was worse, not getting email from Yahoo, or admitting you still use Yahoo for email. It is showing the problem of the company as a whole. Something that doesn’t work that well, even if you wanted to you it. They have a lot of work to do to raise themselves to the level of a bad provider.

Twitter Killing themselves

The ugly. Twitter has again shown ways it can’t be trusted. Due to its business relationship with NBC, tweets were being monitored and when a Twitter user included an email of an NBC executive, the Twitter staff alerted NBC and suggested they file a complaint, which they did, causing the Twitter users account to be suspended. The problem? The email address is on NBC’s website, it is public. Another problem? Monitoring tweets for content. Enough of an issue was raised that Twitter reinstated the account and apologized, but not for why or how they disabled the account. They continue to state the post was a violation. This will be great the next time people start tweeting about the next uprising in the Middle East and Twitter shuts them down for the content of their tweets. Ugly.

We all learn every day and especially in the always on global social media pool. But whatever your platform, it has to be on, it has to be usable, and it has to be open or you might as well open a telegraph office.

Samuel Morse Telegraph

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living Large, Lying, or Laughing

As many of you know I have taken a new position recently. Now I’m not going to use my blog here to tell you how amazing Axcient is from the top down, but I have never been so impressed with any group of people. Instead I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings of jumping into the shark tank.

Axcient has a fairly new partner that has just taken off doing a huge number of placements. They want to bring the entire sales and executive team up to speed to really drive these numbers. Guess who gets to present to them? That is right, yours truly.

Now this doesn’t present much of a problem for me for several different reasons.

  1. 1.       I love to present, I can’t wait to get started.
  2. 2.       I’m a geek, I have learned a lot about the product technically already.
  3. 3.       I came from the VAR space, I know the needs for Backup, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery.

So to sum it up, if you have knowledge, know how to apply it, and like doing it, you can’t miss. Do you take this approach when you sell? I say sell, because even though I’m talking to a partner, I’m selling them on selling us. Everything is sales. Now I didn’t feel this when I was a wet behind the ears technician trying to get all my errands run between service calls…but I learned…I learned.

As I have said before, sales is about confidence. If you have confidence in whatever you are selling, you have just made your sales process much easier. Hardware, software, or yourself.  If you don’t have confidence, why? Which of the elements are you missing?

Repeat after me, I have the knowledge about my solution, I know how my prospect will use it to solve their issues, I believe I will do my best for the client and my employer. If you can say that line without either laughing or lying, you’re living large.

If you aren’t running to get in front of the next new group to talk to, maybe you need to think about a career change…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reviewing Movies

My wife and I were watching a movie the other night. I did as I normally do, pick at the flaws in the movie. More accurately, pick at the flaws in the writing, story, and character development by the writers, actors, and directors. My wife then did as she normally does, she tells me to keep it to myself.  She asked me why I feel the need to critique the movies we watch, it made me think, so I’m writing why in my blog.

Reason 1. Everyone knows that you never split up when walking through a spooky house. Every scary movie does it, we all yell at the screen “DON’T DO IT!”, and someone, or everyone dies. See, we told you. I’m a sales engineer, I’m all about seeing potential issues and avoiding them. If you ever find yourself in a spooky sales call, don’t split up. Your chance of survival has just grown exponentially.

"This isn't right. We should split up." From 'The Cabin in the Woods'

Reason 2. Unless you are watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, inconsistent characters are just annoying. Sometimes bold, sometimes wimpy, sometimes intelligent, sometimes dumb, etc. I don’t mean a character having a personality that shows emotion. I mean really bad over acting, trying to wring everything out of every scene and forgetting that each of these scenes will be seen consecutively, you know, like a movie… Your sales process should also be like a movie. A series of scenes some more intense than others, but a cohesive movie. Those crazy eyed sounding calls late in the quarter can really stand out, and may cost you an Oscar.

The Oscar

Reason 3. It is about the story. If a movie has a great story I forgive a lot and forget a lot. I will forgive some poor sets or background actors, because I’m focused on the great story. I also forget a lot like if the movie is a western, animated, black and white or even sub-titled. Do you have a great story to tell in your sales process or demo? If you can’t keep their attention with the story, they will notice the boom microphones shadow.

So why do I critique movies? I love movies, and I want them to be the best they can be. Why do I critique sales demos and processes? Same reason. And flaws in your sales process should be as obvious as those flaws in the movies. Summer blockbuster or B movie, it is your choice.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Go West young Man, Go West.

Horace Greeley is believed to have given this advice to the men of America in an editorial written in 1865, you can read more about it here. Greeley favored westward expansion. He saw the fertile farmland of the west as an ideal place for people willing to work hard for the opportunity to succeed. So do I.

Go West Young Man, Go West!

Those of you who know me, know how important it is for me to be a passionate advocate for the company and product I work for. I have been fortunate to have been in this position over the many years I have worked in the SMB space. The great news is I get to be in that position again.

I am pleased to announce that I have accepted a position with Axcient. For those of you who do not know them, Axcient is one of the leading providers of Data Backup, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery hardware and software. In my role there I will be assisting Axcient and their partners grow their businesses.


My position with Axcient may not be a big surprise to those of you who saw I was supporting them at the Autotask Community Live event this June in Orlando. One of the great things about being with the Axcient team in Orlando was getting to see so many people who were my partners with Autotask, are now my partners with Axcient. I expect those relationships to just continue to get better and better.

I am honored and excited to be working with Agent Less and the rest of the team at Axcient, and I’m looking forward to seeing and talking to all of you about them soon. So if you are a current Axcient Partner, please contact me and let me know why you love Axcient. Or if you are someone who should be an Axcient Partner because you need a Backup/ Business Continuity/ Disaster Recovery solution for your clients, please contact me and let me help you understand how Axcient can meet both your, and your client’s needs.